I should say from the start that I’m no great fan of folk music and all the folky stuff that goes with it, but there is no doubt that folky folk know how to enjoy themselves as we witnesses yesterday at Shepley Spring Festival.
Shepley is a small village about a 45 minutes drive across the border in Yorkshire and the idea of a Sunday out came from Mrs P’s pal Lesley.
The event is held on the grounds of Shepley Cricket Club and the show ground is surrounded by a mix of marquees selling all sorts of things from incense and stuffed vine leaves to hand knitted ponchos and an energising massage, but at its centre is a flat wooden stage where the fun happens.
First up were the Frumptarn Guggenband from Barnley. Formed in 2002 from the Barnsley Samba Band, they make a point of saying that they are are ‘NOT a Brass Band, Oompah Band or Show Band’ but more anarchic, punchy feelgood music which you can listen to here.
Next were the Bradhaw Mummers (I’d link to their site, but they appear to be having problems with it). Anyone who hasn’t seen mummers (or guisers) may not understand what a folk play is which is a traditonal British entertainment mixing pantomime and Punch and Judy style comedy. Great fun!
We’d paid the extra to be allowed in the main performance tent and I first sat and enjoyed Lincoln-based singer, Eddy O’Dwyer, particularly his folky version of Kipling’s poem Mandalay which you can read and here him perform online.
Throughout the day there were various folk dancers, from the Earlsdon Morris Men wearing shrubbery on their heads to the Ball de Pastorets and their traditional shepherd’s dance from Catalonia in Spain.
But most impressive and unusual were Sheffield-based Boggart’s Breakfast with their Goth/fantasy take on traditional dancing and their amazing blue make-up. (If you don’t know what a boggart is, read more here)
We jumped from breakfast to late afternoon to watch Blackbeard’s Tea Party back in the main performance tent and their funky mix fiddles & squeezeboxes, guitar noise and synth bass.
By then I was pretty tired and couldn’t summon up the energy to get my camera out of its bag, the very reason I thought it would be a good idea to tag along and below is a gallery of some of the shots I took on the day which you can click to enlarge.